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Dena Grayson, MD, PhD (née Dena Minning) is a biotechnology entrepreneur with strong leadership skills, clear strategic vision, successful fundraising and business development experience, along with proven capabilities in developing drug candidates from lead optimization through NDA filing.

While serving in a variety of leadership positions, Dr. Grayson has successfully developed small molecule and biologic drugs across numerous therapeutic areas, including hematology / oncology, infectious diseases, nephrology, cardiovascular medicine, metabolism, inflammation, and neurology in the U.S, Europe, and other geographic regions. In addition, Dr. Grayson also has experience discovering and developing novel therapeutic medical countermeasures (MCM) against biothreat pathogens that pose a significant threat to public health and national security. Dr. Grayson has developed therapeutics of multiple, different modalities, including small molecule pharmaceuticals, peptides, large molecule biologics such as monoclonal antibodies and proteins, cancer vaccines, and cell therapies.

Dr. Grayson played a key role in raising over $120m, including $55m from venture firms while serving as Vice President for two biotech companies. In addition, she played a central role in successfully procuring a $20+ million contract from the US Government, awarded for the development of a broad-spectrum antiviral drug active against Ebola, Zika and other deadly viruses. Dr. Grayson also possesses buy-side business development transactional experience in both Big Biopharma and emerging biotechnology settings with a deep understanding of effectively positioning companies for future partnering or M&A. In 2006, Dr. Grayson was recognized as one of America’s leading executives under the age of 45 when she was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.

Dr. Grayson previously served as Vice President of Translational Medicine at 3-V Biosciences, where she oversaw preclinical and clinical development activities for the company’s host-directed antiviral therapeutics.  Prior to 3-V, Dr. Grayson held the position of Director in Early Development at Amgen, overseeing IND-enabling activities through Phase 2 clinical studies. As Early Development Leader and Clinical Scientist, she led multiple therapeutic programs in anemia, heart failure, asthma, dyslipidemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and pain. While at Amgen, Dr. Grayson also served as Associate Director in Licensing and played a pivotal role in Amgen’s successful in-licensing transaction with Cytokinetics ($75m upfront, $50m option, plus other milestones). She subsequently represented Amgen on the partnership’s Joint Development Committee.  

Dr. Grayson earned her her M.D. (Alpha Omega Alpha) and Ph.D. (Spencer T. Olin Fellow) from Washington University in St. Louis and her B.S. (Phi Beta Kappa, High Honors) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Florida. Her research has been published in prominent scientific journals (using her maiden name, Dena Minning), such as Nature, and featured in the New York Times. Dr. Grayson performed her post-graduate internal medicine training at University of California, San Francisco.